I just love this, from my friend Amy:
“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
– Mary Oliver
Today I want I share my adventures of sitting.
So my typical morning routine is to wake up, then walk over to the coffee maker, I even like to put my arms straight out and walk like a zombie. Pretty much because I think it makes Moose laugh. Okay, who am I kidding, it makes me laugh so it’s worth it.
About 3 weeks ago I took on a new morning routine.
Get up. Sit down. On this:
I’d like to introduce you all to my arch nemesis: my meditation cushion. And I would have got away with it too if it’s wasn’t for those pesky kids in that van.
My meditation cushion is my favorite color: green. But that’s about where any sentences that involve favorite, and meditation, start and stop.
To fully appreciate this, lets back up a bit.
Some of you who have been following this blog since I started it almost a year ago, know this: growing up in the home I grew up in required several skills to be expertly crafted. In fact, looking back it appears that growing up in that house was training to be a modern day ninja, or an overemotional adult (please hold your comments until the end) At any rate, never knowing what I was going to walk into at home, I became an expert at reading a room the second I stepped into it…within 30-60 seconds I could pretty much guess what would transpire from there. 3 things would happen 1) nothing: everything was cool 2) duck and cover 3) step right into the fire and go toe to toe with an unreasonable woman with a thick Korean accent and a penchant for old episodes of MASH.
It was usually 2 or 3. And thus, I became really efficient at reacting. It was a survival tool really.
Now lets also back up to just about a week ago, when I was talking to my Mom on the phone. And well, I think people just kind of age-out crazy. All she wants to do now is talk about Moose and make sure I am eating healthy food. She reminds me that it would be nice for me to find a boyfriend, but then also reminds me that I am ‘a handful.’ Thanks mom. But at any rate, I see my Mom now with so much more compassion than I once did. I see the ways she is beautiful. This has everything to do with forgiving the way it all went down, and loving her anyway. There is this exercise in Baptiste Level 2 about mid-week where after doing all this serious physical, spiritual, emotional work, where you have the opportunity to stand up in front of everyone and ‘CHOOSE’ somebody in your life, as they are. Now out of the like 100 people in that training, I’d say 90% are choosing their mothers. It’s fascinating and hilarious. It goes like this
I choose _________ as they are.
It’s a powerful tool, that I do again and again in my life, and it reminds me that it’s not how the world meets me, it’s how I meet the world. Choice is powerful. And to choose people as they are is the greatest gift you can give to someone.
I remember that day in Mexico, and I’m using my roomates phone at about 8 dollars a minute. When the session breaks, Baron says, go call those people, choose them out loud. And my Mom answers and I’m all:
‘MOM! IT’S ME! I’M IN MEXICO!’
mom: uh-huh (at this point my family is never ever surprised when I am calling from a foreign country, and are just grateful when I remember to leave a phone number)
Me: MOM! I CHOOSE YOU AS YOU ARE!
Mom: you’re in mexico?? who’s watching Moose?
Me: MOM! DID YOU HEAR ME!! I CHOOSE YOU AS YOU ARE, I DON’T CARE ABOUT ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED BEFORE, THEY DON’T MATTER, I CHOO-
Mom: are you eating good food? Lady Gaga is on TV: she’s CRAZY!
Me: MOM! I–!
Mom: oh Lyn, I love you, is that what you mean?
Me: well yeah, that’s it too…
Mom: okay good, I love you too, call me when you get back to NY.
And so. There is hope. My Mom will never apologize for all the shit that went down growing up, and my dad is not going to stop drinking and all of a sudden start running marathons, and it’s no longer wrong. It still hurts, but it no longer defines me, or them. How limited I would be in honoring my parents if I only saw the things that hurt. They deserve more than that, and so do I.
Here’s the deal people: look around at your life right now, zero percent of it is an accident. ZERO. I’m really learning this in the Teacher Training I’m in right now at Zuda. ‘everything is connected’ AND to boot, ‘you are exactly where you are supposed to be’ Yeah, I know. You want a more concrete answer don’t you? But just be with that for a moment…
I think back to my first job out of college. I worked as a behavior interventionist at a school for teenagers with mental illness and developmental delays. (translation: crazy, and a little bit slow) I LOVED it. I worked on the most phenomenal team of people, Doctors, NP’s, Teachers, Therapists of all kinds…it was so inspiring. And. It’s kinda weird, but I have a knack for working with sassy teenagers, especially the girls. Like it’s my wheel house.
It was literally my JOB to respond to crisis and react immediately. My partner Juan (aka the most amazing man on the planet who STILL does that job) would get paged to classrooms when shit was going down. We’d literally sprint out of the office and to the classroom where we’d have to react immediately, which was based fully on trusting one another, and fully trusting our intuition. Some days, and you could just feel it in the air, were crazy from start to finish. It’s like the busses would show up and some kid would lose it, and it the day would go like that, 9 hours of crisis.
There was one little girl her name was Javin, and she was in our youngest classroom. Were not supposed to have favorites, but duh, you do. And I spent a lot of time with her, and I’d bring her into the office and we would have dance parties and jump off the desk, etc. She had a raspy little voice, and was generally pretty contained. (bi-polar) But there were days when she’d walk off the bus, and her hair (normally in super cute braids) would be looking more like Don King, and I’d look over at Juan, and we just both knew, it was going to be one of those days. You learn to pay attention to the small cues like that.
You learn to read between the lines quite well.
Looking back now, I think it’s pretty hilarious that I went right into an environment that mimicked the life I came from. Crazy felt comfortable, and I know it was my attempt to rise above it, to come through it. But because I had yet to heal that part of my life, or even to really recognize it, that responding to crisis was in many ways repeating over and over again a side of myself I had yet to make peace with. I tried to one-up the crisis and be above it: it ultimately became exhausting, as non profit work tends to turn. (and so. I transitioned to selling drugs) hilarious, yes, but that was a major turning point for me, having a big girl, corporate job with a big paycheck and plenty of resources was what funded a lot of my yoga trainings and so began ‘this path’ if you will. And so that was perfect too.
The past 2 years have been choices that have asked of me to have no on/off switch. The corporate world was a freaking breeze compared to the work I’ve dropped in to as of late. Until quitting pharma to go work for lululemon I could keep my life in tidy compartments, work was work, yoga was yoga, bullshit was and is bullshit.
Slowly by slowly I’m getting it. ‘how I do anything, is how I do everything’ there are no compartments, there are only excuses.
My work these days is to do the exact opposite of what I became so freaking good at, and that is to, not react. At all. To not be swayed by every gust of wind that comes by. To not go into crisis mode. To not go sprinting out of any one location to another wondering how can I save the day.
Lyndsey. Put down the cape.
I asked my mentor how do I do this? Surely, there is a book I can read and master. And she sends this.
Meditate. Fist bump.
To which I replied: ‘oh god, I’m screwed’
My regional at lulu told me this ‘Lyndsey, before you pull the fire alarm, check around, it might just be burnt toast’
And so I have asked, and I am seriously freaking trying to do this. I was once extremely successful at reacting, it got me very very far, I am woman of action, I get shit done, I don’t wait around to be told what to do….but just like in the non profit world, I’ll burn out. And you cant burn out of your own life for goodness sakes, you gotta be here.
I’m learning that the life to save here is first and always my own. That the breath to take here is mine. That the stakes behind all of this is my freedom. And that when I am free, I am truly in service.
To not react I must first learn the art of sitting down and observing. It’s crazy up in there. My mind that is. But I just keep sitting down again and again.
Look around at your world right now, see what you are there to learn and learn. Decide how you are going to serve: and serve. And when it is time, move forward and through.
This quote always makes me smile.
‘don’t just do something. stand there’
be still my friends.